April 30, 2014, Week 1

Friday’s Hail Damage
Welcome to Elysian Fields 2014 CSA program!  On the not so bright side, late Friday afternoon we received hail in Cedar Grove that caused some severe damage to some of our crops.  We grow our crops on two pieces of land, located 3 miles apart.  While both properties received hail, only one received enough to cause severe damage, thankfully!  We did lose the spinach and head lettuce you saw in the picture I sent out a week or so ago, and you can see again below (before photo):

And here is a picture of what every single spinach leaf and lettuce leaf looks like now in that field:

It really is amazing how much each leaf has been shredded by the hail.  Here is a picture of how big the hail was that we received:

You may notice some holes in the chard or bunched kale you may have received this week also.  Again, that is from the hail.  These two crops were luckily planted on the property that did not get hit as hard.  Fortunately for us all, most of our crops right now are located on that property.  Unfortunately, the two main crops that did get severely damaged (spinach and lettuce – along with the baby boc choi) were going to comprise a large portion of your boxes for these first two weeks since they are ready earlier on in the growing season than some of the other spring crops.   We have managed to harvest enough for this week to fill your boxes, yet we may not have crops for this Saturday’s farmers market nor possibly next week’s CSA.  We will just have to play it by ear and let you know.   

What’s Going on at The Farm?
On the bright side, the epic 2014 tomato planting occurred last Thursday!  Oh the smell of tomato plants and how it brings such fond memories.  Tomatoes have truly become one of my favorite crops to grow, harvest, and eat over the years.  I think it is because they are such a challenge to grow, yet when done with care, produce such beautiful fruits full of such colorful array and delicious flavor.  Here is a picture of the roughly 1200 tomato plants we planted:

Recipes and Veggie Information!
Green Garlic is the garlic plant before the garlic head has formed.  It has a delicious fresh garlic flavor and the whole stalk can be chopped or diced raw into green or pasta salads, sautéed in place of bulb garlic, sprinkled onto pizza, eaten raw, or used anywhere garlic flavor is desired. The flavor holds up well to grilling; first slice off the tops and save for stock, precook the stalk in boiling water until tender, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before grilling, just until grill marks appear on each side.

Sesame Kale Salad
1 pound fresh baby kale mix (or bunched kale, chard, spinach, or other greens)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (crush these into a powder, if desired)
½ - 1 stalk green garlic, chopped finely
2 tsp honey (or other sweetener)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
dash of black or ground red pepper, or more to taste

If you are using bunched kale, separate kale leaves from stems, then chop stems and greens. Steam the stems a couple of minutes, then add the greens and steam until just tender. If you are using mixed baby kale, you can just pull straight from the bag and steam until just tender.  Drain; let kale cool enough to handle it. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Place in serving bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl; add to greens. Mix, chill, and serve.
Roasted Turnips with Thyme
1 bunch baby Hakurie turnips, cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the turnips, oil, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Place in the oven and roast, stirring twice at regular intervals during roasting, until the turnips are golden brown and tender when pierced with a knife, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve immediately.
Swiss Chard  a l’Italienne
1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1 stalk Green Garlic
Sea salt and hot red pepper flakes (or freshly ground black pepper)
1 tbsp to one quarter extra virgin olive oil

Place the chard in a large stockpot with the rinse water still clinging to it and set on medium-high heat. When the card begins to sizzle, stir it and cover. Reduce heat to medium and cook until chard is wilted but still has texture and the leaves have turned green while the stems have turned a translucent grey, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil with the garlic in a skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard, squeezing out some of the liquid before adding it to the oil. Cook, stirring, until the Swiss chard has wilted entirely and the garlic is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and red pepper flakes (or black pepper). Remove from the heat and transfer to a warmed platter. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve.

Braised Radishes
bunches radishes (about 1 pound) tops trimmed to 1 inch above roots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the radishes in a large skillet and add just enough cold water to cover, about 2 1/2 cups. Add the butter, sugar, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the radishes are tender when pricked with a paring knife and the liquid has reduced to a glaze, about 12 minutes. If the radishes are tender but the liquid hasn't reduced sufficiently, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a serving dish and continue reducing the liquid. Spoon it over the radishes and serve with buttered crusty bread.

What's in the box?

Regular Share
Crop Amount  

2 stalks green garlic
1 bunch radishes
½ lb. baby kale mix
1 bunch swiss chard
½ lb. baby lettuce or mesclun salad mix (baby lettuce, beet greens, tatsoi, kale, mizuna, mustards)

Full Share
Crop Amount  

4 stalk green garlic
2 bunches radishes (1 bunch red, 1 bunch French breakfast)
1 lb. baby kale mix or 1 bunch kale
1 bunch turnips
1 bunch chives (flowers are edible) or cilantro
1 lb. meslun salad mix (baby lettuce, beet greens, tatsoi, kale, mizuna, mustards)